We’re back with some more fun sex tidbits. This time it’s historical sex facts (some of which sound too crazy to be true!) So grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, and enjoy!
- The word “clitoris” is Greek for “divine and goddess-like.”
- The work of Swiss jurist Johann Bachofen made a major impact on the study of the history of sexuality. Many authors, notably Lewis Henry Morgan and Friedrich Engels, were influenced by Bachofen, and criticized Bachofen’s ideas on the subject, which were almost entirely drawn from a close reading of ancient mythology.
- In the I Ching (The Book of Changes, a Chinese classic text dealing with divination) sexual intercourse is one of two fundamental models used to explain the world. With neither embarrassment nor circumlocution, Heaven is described as having sexual intercourse with Earth.
- Upper Paleolithic art dating back 30,000 years depicts people using dildos to pleasure themselves and others. That means mankind invented sex toys long before the wheel.
- In the 1600s, Egyptian women soaked cotton in a mixture of fruit, honey, and dates as a DIY spermicide that they put in their vaginas.
- Chinese men started using cock rings during the Jin dynasty. Plus, there are recorded instances of using goat eyelids.
- The creature named Funisia dorothea is thought by most scientists to be the first animal on the Earth to have sex, pushing back the history of sex by up to 30 million years.
- Ancient Greeks going off to war gave their wives bread dildos, or “olisbokollikes,” to sate them while away.
- India played a significant role in the history of sex, from writing one of the first literatures that treated sexual intercourse as a science, to in modern times being the origin of the philosophical focus of new-age groups’ attitudes on sex. It may be argued that India pioneered the use of sexual education through art and literature.
- Pre-Christian religions often regarded sex as a celebration and as a form of worship. Sex was seen as mirroring the sensual power of the Gods.
- In what is often called the world’s first novel, the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji), which dates back to around the eighth century AD, eroticism is treated as a central part of the aesthetic life of the nobility. The sexual interactions of Prince Genji are described in great detail, in an objective tone of voice, and in a way that indicates that sexuality was as much a valued component of cultured life as music or any of the arts.
- Cleopatra is said to have filled a papyrus box with bees for use as a vibrator.
- In ancient Greece, the phallus, often in the form of a “herma”, was an object of worship as a symbol of fertility.
- In the Roman Republic, the citizen’s duty to control his body was central to the concept of male sexuality. Virtue was equated with “manliness”. The equivalent virtue for women of good social standing was “pudicitia“, a form of sexual integrity that displayed their attractiveness and self-control.
- In Roman patriarchal society, a “real man” was supposed to govern both himself and others well, and should not submit to the use or pleasure of others. Same-sex behaviors were not perceived as harming a Roman’s masculinity, as long as he played the penetrative or dominating role.
- In the 1300s in France, men were sometimes made to masturbate in front of a Court of Law in order to prove they could get an erection.
- In the 1450s, the first mention of a merkin (aka pubic-hair wig) was found in The Oxford Companion to the Body. One theory is that prostitutes had to shave their vulvas to combat pubic lice but didn’t want it to look that way. The second is that the merkins were worn to cover up any signs of syphilis on the vulva.
- 1790s-1809: Napoleon was said to have written to his wife Josephine, “Home in eight days. Don’t wash!” Carol Queen, PhD and sexologist.
Well, we hoped you enjoyed these fun historical sex facts! If you have more, share in the comments!